H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has approved the general budget for the emirate of Sharjah, with total expenses amounting to some Dh17.7 billion.
The budget, which is the largest in the history of the emirate, has adopted many strategic objectives and indicators that are expected to be achieved through fiscal year 2015, marking an increase of 12 percent for 2015 compared to the 2014 General Budget.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Central Finance Department, said this year's budget underpinned Sheikh Sultan's directives to stimulate the emirate's economy so as to post economic growth rates that consolidate Sharjah's place at the regional and global economy landscape.
The budget, he added, was planned to enhance financial stability of the emirate in consistence with international financial standards regarding inflation and, sectorial spending and other macroeconomic indices as well as delivery of best health, social and cultural services to ensure welfare and happiness of the local community.
According to him, the budget also aims to advance the emirate's strategic approach towards development of world-class basic infrastructure facilities and towards conservation of the environment, protection of public health and safety and expansion of the green acreage as part of the emirate's green economy strategy.
Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of the Department, explained that the economic development sector took the lion's share of 45% of the Dh 17.7 bn budget. Allocations increased 4% to 22 over the 2014 figure, reflecting the great attention lent to this sector and its role in sharpening Sharjah's competitive edge globally. The sector percentage importance He said that the infrastructure sector received 34% of the 2015 total budget, a growth of 1% in allocations compared to 2014 budget.
The budget, he noted, had taken into consideration Sharjah's standing as the capital of the Islamic and Arab Culture with allocations slightly rising 1% to 17%. Allocations for the governance sector went up 8% in the 2015 budget over that of 2014.
He revealed that the budget would generate 1000 job opportunities to Emirati citizens in the public sector.
A breakdown of expenditures showed that operational expenditure (OPEX) took a whopping 45% of total government expenditures, a rate that is higher than recognised international benchmarks. In the second place was salaries and wages at 28% than followed by capital expenditures (CAPEX) on infrastructure at 22%.
Payments of loans stood at 3%, he said.